Saturday, February 14, 2009

The more things change, the more they stay the same...

A 'quick hit' post on goings-on in Scottsdale...

For those of you who thought that the ouster of Mary Manross as mayor in favor of Jim Lane would change the way that the City deals with developers (aka - rubber stamp everything), read on...

From the AZ Republic (emphasis mine) -
Scottsdale Planning Commission will meet March 11 to discuss the proposed Palmeraie project that could bring five-story buildings to the southwestern corner of Indian Bend and Scottsdale roads.

Some area residents are worried about incompatible density and preserving views of Camelback Mountain, and they raised their concerns at a Coalition of Greater Scottsdale meeting late this week at which representatives of Five Star Development met with community activists.


The rezoning request in Scottsdale has hit technical hurdles that still must be addressed, however.

Current Scottsdale ordinance requires that any parcel seeking zoning as a planned regional center (PRC) be at least 25 acres in size. The lot going before the Planning Commission is only 20 acres.

20 acres is smaller than 25, so 'no go', right?

Not so fast.

Connie Padian, a City Zoning Administrator, has issued a "Zoning Interpretation Record."

It says that since the parcel in question abuts another parcel owned by the same developer in Paradise Valley, and that the combined size totals approximately 120 acres...well, you can see where this is going.

From Sonnie Kirtley, chair of the Coalition of Greater Scottsdale (COGS), via email -
...You need to get your appeals and comments in the city file prior to that date. So far, there are NO public comments (or staff communications) in that file. Case numbers are 17-AB-2008, 13 ZN 2008 and 13 TA 2008. If the staff "interpretation" is legal, then the developer won't be asking for the 13-TA-2008 text amendment to change ALL properties in the city with 20 acres to be permitted the PRC upzoning. They will just ask that their current Resort Zoning (35 ft max height) be improved to the PRC on their parcel.

Apparently, the wave of change that swept over the country last November missed our quaintly pretentious over-botoxed little desert hamlet, because nothing has changed -

The City genuflected before deep-pocketed developers last year, and they are genuflecting before deep-pocketed developers this year.

About the only this that has changed is Jim Lane's brilliant proclamation to promote tourism in Scottsdale - "Western on Wednesday." He has asked Scottsdale residents to wear "boots, jeans, and other Western attire on Wednesdays" to celebrate the Parada del Sol this month.

I suppose it's better than Pink Taco debacles, but it doesn't really seem like the kind of proactive leadership the city needs to navigate its way through these tough economic times.


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